Wearing a bonnet covered in Peeps, plastic eggs and flowers, Kate Deming, 7, marched along Main Street during Sag Harbor’s 18th annual sidewalk Easter Bonnet Parade on Saturday.
“We can’t help but come back year after year,” said her father, Peter Deming, 55, of Sag Harbor. “She loves to decorate her own bonnet. She has a new look every year.”
Following the Easter bunny, Alex Makoid, 9, marched beside Deming in the parade, which began at BookHampton on Main Street and ended at Sag Harbor Garden Center on Spring Street, where children could pet llamas, sheep, chicken, ducks or a rabbit.
“We’ve been coming to the parade for years. We wouldn’t miss it,” said Alex’s mother, Tracy Mitchell, executive director of Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor. “We get to see our neighbors and it’s just a really nice community event to come out to each year.”
Lisa Field, chair of the bonnet parade committee and member of the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce, said it started by chance in 1996, with just members of her family walking down the Main Street sidewalk in bonnets.
“Now, it’s just grown so much,” said Field, 44, a lifelong resident of Sag Harbor and owner of family-owned Sag Harbor Variety Store. “Last year, we had 150 people marching in the parade and this year it looks like 300 people marched.”
Field said it gives families something to do on Easter weekend. There’s also an Easter egg hunt, sponsored by the Sag Harbor Lions, Sunday at 1 p.m. at Mashashimuet Park.
“It’s just a silly, quirky and fun thing to do right before Easter,” Field said. “And it gives a lot of kids an opportunity to show off the creativity they put into making their bonnets.”
Wearing a bonnet she decorated with an Easter egg basket and scattered golden plastic eggs and chicks, Rachel McKelvey, 10, held her sister’s hand while marching in the parade.
“I call my hat a chick convention. I decorated my hat with little fuzzy chicks,” said Rachel, of Sag Harbor. “It’s a little heavy, but it’s so cool. We’re having fun.”
Her father Glen McKelvey watched his daughters have the time of their life, marching in the parade for the third year in a row proudly wearing bonnets they made from scratch.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to get excited about something,” he said. “I mean, it’s a beautiful day, they get to see the Easter bunny and there’s a petting zoo. They love it.”